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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Eric Gunderson, Soon Lost - 534

In his first start, second major league outing, Eric Gunderson pitched well, going six innings while giving up just one run.

That outing was soon lost, though, as Gunderson gave up four runs over 5.2 innings in his second start. In his third, he gave up five runs, while getting just two outs.

"You just can't run minor league pitchers out there and win," Giants manager Roger Craig told Sports Illustrated of Gunderson and other rookies, weeks after Gunderson was returned to the minors.

In his six outings that April, Gunderson gave up a total of 11 earned runs in 14.2 innings of work. He returned for one more outing in September, going five innings, while giving up one earned run and picking up his first big league win.

Gunderson would return to the majors after that. He would get into more than 250 major league games over the next decade.

Gunderson made the Giants in 1990, in his fourth professional seasons. His career started in 1987, taken by the Giants in the second round of the draft out of Portland State University.

Gunderson started at short-season Everett, moving to single-A San Jose and AA Shreveport in 1988. He played 1989 between Shreveport and AAA Phoenix.

After starting in San Francisco in 1990, Gunderson returned to Phoenix. With the Firebirds, Gunderson ended up going 5-7, with an ERA of 8.23 in 16 starts. He also got eight starts back down at Shreveport.

Gunderson returned for that one start in September, then two relief outings in 1991. By the end of spring 1992, the Giants released him.

Signing with the Mariners, Gunderson returned to the majors for nine more relief outings. He gave up nine earned runs in 9.1 innings.

Gunderson spent 1993 back in the minors, between the Mariners and the Mets. In 1994, Gunderson made Flushing, getting into 14 games. This time, though, he wasn't charged with a run over nine innings of work.

In 1995, Gunderson got his most major league time to date, 49 relief outings. Thirty of those were with the Mets, the other 19 with the Red Sox after they took him off waivers.

Overall that year, Gunderson went 3-2, with a 4.17 ERA. In late July, Gunderson blew a save, losing a lead against the Cardinals. Bernard Gilkey put Gunderson's Mets in the loss column, hitting a Gunderson pitch to left to knock in the winning run.

"It was a breaking ball over the plate," Gunderson told The New York Times. "I'm sure he was looking for it."

Gunderson threw 28 outings for the Red Sox in 1996. He pitched 1997 and 1998 with the Rangers, getting into 60 and 68 games. His final two seasons, Gunderson got into 17 major league games total, between the Rangers and the Blue Jays.

Gunderson then continued pitching in the minors through 2002, at AAA with the Indians and the Yankees.

Gunderson has since gone on to return home to the Portland area, serving as head coach of the Jesuit High School Crusaders. In 2010, Gunderson's Crusaders picked up a 9-4 comeback win in the first round of the playoffs.

"If we play defense, it keeps us in games and gives us a chance to win," Gunderson told The Beaverton Valley Times that May. "That's what we’ve been stressing all year."

1990 CMC Tally
Cards Featured:
719/880 - 81.7%
Players/Coaches Featured:
Made the Majors:
491 - 67%-X
Never Made the Majors:

5+ Seasons in the Majors:
10+ Seasons in the Minors:

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